From November 2012

New Assisted Living Center Offers More Choice For Seniors

A new senior center is set to open next spring in Soldotna, part of a growing industry on the Kenai Peninsula. Partners from Riverside Assisted Living, who are constructing two of three new senior housing centers on the central peninsula, pitched their new facility at a presentation Friday morning at the Kenai Senior Center.

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Parnell Announces $30 Million Salmon Study in Kenai

Governor Sean Parnell visited Kenai Tuesday to meet with local officials, mingle with residents and make a $30 million announcement.  That’s the amount the Governor is proposing to spend on a five-year Chinook Salmon Research Initiative.

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A room filled mostly with fishermen was greeted with the news that $10 million will be marked in the budget for next year, to be devoted to king salmon research.  Before making his announcement, Governor Parnell made it around the room to hear what was on people’s minds, and mostly it was fishing.

“We just want him to realize how important reds are to the community,” said Megan Smith, an east side set netter, after the Governor spoke with her and fellow setnetters Amber Every and Lisa Gabriel.

“Next summer, hopefully we can move forward and work for a solution to let everyone harvest and everyone have a piece of the pie, because there’s plenty for everyone,” Smith said.

“He does know the issues and I felt he was very receptive to us,” Gabriel said of her brief conversation with Parnell.

“We need to figure out what’s happening with these king salmon; is there a conservation concern, and if so how we’re going to deal with it,” Every said about the research initiative.

The Governor clued the three in on his announcement just before he took to the podium to make it official.

The research plan is the product of a two-day salmon symposium held in Anchorage in October, when scientists, fisheries managers and fishermen from across the state pitched in ideas about the kinds of information they were interested in gathering and what a research plan would include.

The plan that came out of that meeting will include adult, juvenile and harvest assessments, plus genetics and biometrics all taken into account with what makes up the local knowledge base of these fisheries.  The $10 million used to get the program started this year is in addition to the f$14.6 million the Department of Fish and Game already spends annually on Chinook research and management.

The Governor offered his pledge that regardless of the causes for poor king salmon returns that forced both sport and commercial fisheries this summer, the fishermen affected by those closures aren’t alone.

“There’s nothing quite like being concerned about where you’re going to be, how you’re going to make it through the winter, how you’re going to pay next month’s bills,” Parnell said.

“There are no easy answers to the fish dilemmas that we have. Sometimes there are simplistic answers given but there are no simple answers.  All I know is that we’re in it together.  And I know that I will work with every one of you and every group imaginable to work together to solve these issues and make sure we have a sustainable fishery,” the Governor said.

The Chinook Salmon Research Initiative is included in the Governor’s budget for the 2014 fiscal year and will use information from 12 indicator river systems from all over the state to develop new strategies that will grow king salmon returns.

Shaylon Cochran/KDLL

The Economics of Fisheries Closures in 2012

Commercial fishermen and others who felt the economic effects of this year’s fishing season on the Kenai Peninsula are still grasping for a full understanding of how, and how much, these industries contribute to the local economy. The Kenai Peninsula Borough has taken the first steps in putting together an economic study that might provide that understanding.

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From The Headlines: Study Links High Turbidity To High Boat Traffic

Last week, Peninsula Clarion Reporter Rashah McChesney wrote about a preliminary study done by the Kenai Watershed Forum in contract with the Department of Environmental Conservation identifying a link between increased boat traffic on the Kenai River and increased turbidity levels that exceed state standards for water quality

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State Revises Revenue Loss Estimate For Commercial Fishermen

Congress has just a few weeks to act on the request for federal disaster aid to local fishermen affected by this year’s historically low run of king salmon. The Alaska congressional delegation Tuesday received some updated information that paints a more detailed picture of just what those effects were.

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FTC Investigation Into Hilcorp, Marathon Deal Closed

The energy company Hilcorp has announced another step toward finalizing its acquisition of Cook Inlet assets from Marathon. The transaction had been under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, but that investigation has closed and the deal will move forward as South Central Alaska braces for a possible natural gas shortage in the coming years.

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